Conservative Leaders Call for More Flexible Asylum Program

Conservative lawmakers and thought leaders who backed President Bush’s 2004 reelection are now speaking up with their liberal counterparts about the Bush administration’s use of anti-terrorism legislation to deny asylum to many immigrants rightfully seeking that status.

Many international asylum applicants, who in no way resemble terrorists, are being direly affected by the administration’s broad application of anti-terrorism legislation. Individuals such as Hmong refugees who fought with the U.S. in the Vietnam War, healthcare workers in Columbia and victims of rebel violence in Liberia are having their applications rejected on the grounds that they provided support to terrorists.

“[This] is causing heroes who fought for the United States to be afraid of being deported,” said Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Hudson Institute and lawyer for the former Reagan administration.

Gary Bauer, president of the conservative public policy group, American Values, agrees with Horowitz’s statement: “The enforcement of it has lapsed into ludicrousy,” says Bauer. “The concept of material support is being distorted, and even the definition of the term ‘terrorism’ is being turned on its ear.”

In 2000, 72,000 asylum seekers were allowed into the U.S. That number has since drastically dropped. In 2003, for example, a mere 28,000 refugee applicants were allowed into the U.S.; last year, only 25,257 applicants were granted asylum.

Over the past two years, say critics of the administration’s actions, the Department of Homeland Security has refused a range of requests to create more flexible waivers for individuals such as Hmong and Montagnards who fought with the U.S. in the Vietnam War. The solution to this problem, say these critics, is working with the new Democratic majority.

“The key to ending these policies is in the hands of the new Democratic majority” said Horowitz. “I do not believe this is a sustainable policy.”

Immigrants Leading Entrepreneurship in the U.S., Says Duke University Report

A report by a team of student researchers at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University details the impact of globalization on the U.S. economy and, specifically, the profession of engineering. The report highlights the role skilled immigrants play in leading innovation and creating jobs and wealth in the engineering/technology sector.

Highlights of the Duke report include the following information about engineering and technology companies started in the U.S from 1995 to 2005:

  • At least one key founder in one quarter of all these companies was foreign born. States with the highest rate of foreign-born founders include California, New Jersey and Georgia. States with below average rates include Washington, North Carolina and Ohio.
  • These companies, formed by immigrants, produced $52 billion in sales; 450,000 employees worked for these companies in 2005.
  • More engineering/technology companies in the U.S. were founded by Indians than British, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese immigrants combined.
  • Immigrant businesspersons vary by region. In Florida, the majority of immigrant-founded companies were formed by Hispanics; Israelis founded more companies in Massachusetts than any other immigrant group; in New Jersey, 47% of all immigrant-founded engineering/technology companies were started by Indians.
  • Nearly 80% of all immigrant-founded companies in the U.S. were either software companies or innovation/manufacturing-related services.
  • Foreign nationals living in the U.S. were named as the inventors or co-inventors in 24.2% of all international patent applications filed by the U.S. in 2006. This number does not include immigrants who have since become U.S. citizens. This number rose dramatically over the past decade. In 1998, non-citizen immigrants contributed to only 7.3% of all international patent applications filed by the U.S.

View the full report > America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs